Canonical CEO Jane Silber appeared on American news-channel CNBC to discuss the crowd-funding campaign for Ubuntu Edge.
In the live interview earlier today CNBC anchor Julia Boorstin asked what made Canonical decide to ‘come up with a smartphone with a difference’.
Silber’s reply is succinct and convincing:
“We decided that we saw the industry – particularly the PC and phone industry – blending along a spectrum of device form factors. We’ve been making a phone version of Ubuntu – of the software – for several years now and are in good conversations about shipping that on the kinds of devices that carriers provide in market today.
“But we also saw a real opportunity to do something special. We think there’s a gap between the hardware and products that are being produced. So [we] started a crowd-funding project on monday to explore this; to build a premium device.”
“I think we’ve got a good chance [of raising all the money]. It is true that there’s a long way to go. This is a jaw-droppingly ambitious target. Nobody has raised this amount of money through crowd-funding so far. The previous record was $10 and we’re going for 3 times that!”
“People crave this level of innovation.”
Fellow guest Bob Parker of Credit Suisse asked Silber why Canonical sought to raise money for the handset through crowd-funding as opposed to a more traditional venture capital firm. Silber responded:
“This is a different kind of project. The point here isn’t just to raise money it’s also to demonstrate the need for innovation and the disruption that technology needs. Right now the phone industry is incentivised to be relatively risk-averse. When you’re trying to ship 10 or 20 or 50 million devices there’s a natural incentive to not try new things.
“We want to shake that up. We think that the ability to have a converged device, that is both a phone and PC, will appeal to tech enthusiasts.”
You can see the full video in the player below. At 3.30 seconds long it’s not the most incisive of interviews but Silber does a great job of succinctly putting across who Canonical are, what Ubuntu is, and why they’ve decided to grab the mobile industry by the scruff of its neck and drag it in to innovation.